At Flynn, we recognize the demands that our personal and professional lives place on us. To help our employees better manage these demands, we have partnered with Morneau Shepell to create an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). As part of EFAP, Flynn employees have access to many resources. Professionals are available to provide you with confidential counselling for health, money and other personal concerns. Click or tap this link to read Morneau’s latest newsletter.

Budgeting for the Holidays

The average North American spends more than $1,000 during the holiday season. And much of that spending is on credit cards, which means that many people face big bills in the new year. The key to keeping holiday spending under control is budgeting. Below you’ll find tips for setting and sticking with a holiday budget.

Setting a holiday budget. The first step in getting control of holiday expenses is deciding exactly how much you can spend in advance. There are four main areas in which most people spend: gifts, entertaining, travel, and decorating. And each of these areas comes with hidden expenses. For example, gift-giving costs can be much more than the price of each gift. You also have to consider the cost of wrapping and shipping gifts.

Making a gift list. Take the time to make a list of everyone for whom you’d like to buy gifts. Include teachers, mail carriers, co-workers, newspaper delivery people, and anyone else you may give a gift to. Next, consider your list. Are there people who could receive a card rather than a gift? Then, set a price limit on each gift. For example, you might decide that you’ll set a $30 limit on immediate family members, $20 on children in your family, and $10 on acquaintances like co-workers or teachers. Don’t forget to include the cost of wrapping paper and shipping.

Entertainment costs. Many people forget to factor in the cost of holiday entertaining. Even if you aren’t having a party, providing snacks for neighbors or friends who drop by and serving the holiday meal can be expensive. Try to think of ways in which you can cut back in this category. For example, consider inviting friends and neighbors over for a cookie swap rather than baking batches to give away. Or ask family members to contribute a dish to your holiday meal instead of supplying all the food yourself.

Travel costs. If you’ll be traveling during the holidays, even if it’s by car, be sure to include these costs in your budget. The tips in the next section of this article can help you trim your travel expenses.

Decorating costs. Estimate how much you’ll spend on holiday decorations. This is often an easy area to cut back in. Think about what you did last year and determine whether you can reuse any decorations. You’ll find more tips below for saving money on decorations.

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